Union Democrat staff

VNA-Hospice changes

To the editor:

I wish to thank everyone at the Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice for their dedication and selflessness. I have worked for VNA-Hospice over 13 years and used the hospice services for my mother. Over the last five years I have watched our viable department managed without fiscal responsibility, as county administrators cut per-diem staff and left key supervisor positions vacant. These actions set VNA-Hospice up for failure and gave county administrators a reason to close it. Current financial situations made public arguments moot. The master plan for closure could not be stopped. I also watched as staff offered sound suggestions for changes which would have made our department a sound contributor to county assets; however, county administrators continued on the path to destruction by refusing to change as the industry did.

Yet through all of this, VNA-Hospice staff answered the call from administration and did all that was asked and more. I commend the field staff that not once let this turmoil affect the level of care they delivered. I salute the office staff who took on three and four additional jobs as their coworkers were transferred or laid off. I thank the community, the people of Tuolumne and Calaveras counties, for their heartfelt emotional and financial support. The staff, volunteers, and community support for VNA-Hospice are of the quality rarely found in the business world. You are the BEST! Now, as the county-owned VNA/Hospice closes, I hold onto the hope that a privatized VNA-Hospice will be able to deliver the same level of quality care and human compassion that my mother received and I have been proud to deliver.

Dianne Bosque


Artificial fix

To the editor:

Government deregulation and lack of oversight combined with irresponsible fiscal policy are the main reasons the U.S. economy is in such dire straits. Hundreds of billions of dollars in a so-called economic stimulus package is an artificial fix in my opinion. Wall Street and the government still seem to be enjoying the party while looking through rose-colored glasses and spending your money irresponsibly.

In order to solve our economic problems we have to realize that as a nation we need to produce real wealth by producing products with intrinsic value. We can't continue to allow our natural resources to lie dormant because of fallacious environmental concerns. We need to drill for oil and natural gas, harvest timber and mine our mineral wealth to produce a real solution to our economic problems. Then and only then can we have long term sustained economic growth.

If we don't do these things, we are resigning ourselves to a slow erosion of our quality of life and our individual rights. That which we feared and loathed during the cold war is now descending upon us, and we all have a responsibility to either accept or deny this path. We have arrived at the crossroads and the decision is now ours to make. While we shouldn't make this decision without compassion, we must also not allow the excesses of irresponsibility to continue. We must make certain that government is held accountable to the people and not the other way around.

Mark Johnson